TEXT: Romans 11:15-21
15 For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?
16 For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.
17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;
18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.
19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in.
20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:
21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.
Israel in the End Times (Part 7)
As we continue our journey through Romans 11, we talked about Paul’s position as an apostle to the Gentiles and about his desire for the Jews to emulate the Gentiles and accept Christ as their Savior. Paul took a Godly pride in his ministry of leading people to Christ, and his desire is for the Jews to be a part of that ministry. We also looked at the biblical teaching that the salvation of the Jews will come about as a massive ingathering during the last days.
The Bible tells us that after the Rapture, the Antichrist will make a deal with the nation of Israel marking the beginning of the seven-year Tribulation period. Arnold Fruchtenbaum writes, “The last seven years, or the Tribulation, will begin when Israel and ‘the prince who is to come,’ the Antichrist, sign a seven-year covenant. Although the agreement is for the covenant to last for seven years, it will be broken at the halfway point… The Jewish people will enter the covenant with Antichrist for security from further military invasions… [But] the covenant will be broken and desolations will fall upon the Jewish people.” As part of this covenant, the Jewish Temple will be rebuilt in Jerusalem. After three-and-a-half years, the Antichrist will sit on a throne in this Temple, declare himself to be God, and demand that all the world worship him. This, of course, will enrage the Jewish people. When they refuse to worship him, the antichrist, driven by Satan, will turn his wrath on the Jewish people. This is why the latter half of the Tribulation is known as the ‘time of Jacob’s trouble.’ During this time, the Jews will realize that the Antichrist is not their savior, and many will turn to Jesus Christ for salvation.
This is the mass conversion that Paul speaks to in Romans 11:15. He says it will be so dramatic that it will be almost as though the Jews are resurrected from the dead.
Paul continues his discussion, likening the Jew-Gentile scenario to an olive tree. In verse 17, he says, “And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree.” We must keep in mind here that Paul is not speaking of the standing of individual believers, but of God’s plan for Israel as a whole. Warren Wiersbe states, “The roots of the tree support the tree; again, this was a symbol of the patriarchs who founded the nation. God made His covenants with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and He cannot deny them or change them. Thus, it is God’s promise to Abraham that sustains Israel even today.”
Paul states in Romans 11:18, “Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.” We as Christians stand, as it were, on the faith of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They are the foundation of what we believe. They had faith in the promises of God even though they did not know how all of those promises would pan out. Genesis 4:6 says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” Since many of the Jews did not follow Abraham’s example of faith and believe in Jesus Christ, Paul typifies them as branches that were broken off. We, the Gentiles — the wild olive tree, were grafted in only because of our belief and faith in Jesus Christ. Thus, we concur with Paul’s statement in verse 19: “Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in.”
As mentioned previously, this does not speak to the standing of the individual believer. It is also not speaking of division between Jews and Gentiles. God sees the church as “one in Christ Jesus.” In Him, there is no Jew or Gentile, but the olive tree illustrates the relationship between the Jew and the Gentile in the program of God. We are where we are simply because of the grace of God and our faith in Jesus Christ. Verse 20 reads: “Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith.” As Spurgeon said, “It is all of grace.” We have nothing to boast of as followers of Christ because Jesus paid it all. We are only the beneficiaries of His sacrifice.
Paul continues, “Be not high minded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.” In other words, just as the Jews fell away because of unbelief, we can fall away as well. In light of this, notice the following from Warren Wiersbe. He says, “According to Bible prophecy, the professing Gentile church will be ‘cut off’ because of apostasy. First Timothy 4 and Second Timothy 3, along with Second Thessalonians 2, all indicate that the professing church in the last days will depart from the faith. There is no hope for the apostate church, but there is hope for apostate Israel. Why? Because of the roots of the olive tree. God will keep His promises to the patriarchs, but God will break off the Gentiles because of their unbelief.”
Allow me to share with you some information on the meaning of apostasy from the Popular Encyclopedia of Bible Prophecy:
Despite the best intentions and desires of those who trust Jesus as Savior, a great departure from the truth will someday occur. The New Testament speaks often of this coming day. 2 Thessalonians 2:3 reads, “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.” It is called “the apostasy” in the NASB, “the rebellion” in the NIV, or “the falling away” in the KJV. In 1 Timothy 4:1, Paul says that “some shall depart from the faith”.
Paul’s language suggests that the great departure will probably reach its fulfillment sometime just before the rapture of the church. Paul also wrote that a form of this apostasy was already evident in his generation. These “departures” would continue throughout the ages of the church and climax in the last days. He writes in 2 Thessalonians 2:7, “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.”
Whitlock defines apostasy as a “deliberate repudiation and abandonment of the faith that one has professed.” He notes that apostasy differs from heresy in that the heretic denies some aspect of the Christian faith while continuing to profess to be a Christian. The apostate is one who has abandoned and denounced any Christian profession at all. New Testament examples of apostates include Judas Iscariot, Demas, Hymenaeus, and Alexander. The Roman Emperor Julian “the Apostate” professed Christianity and later renounced it and attempted to reestablish paganism in the Roman Empire.
Only 2 Thessalonians 2:3 uses the word “apostasies” in its theological meaning with reference to the church. Here Paul writes, “Let no one in any way deceive you, for [the day of the Lord] will not come unless the apostasy comes first.” Earlier in the New Testament, the Jewish believers in Jerusalem accused Paul of “teaching all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake [a-pos-ta-sia] Moses.” We get an additional sense of the word from a related term which is translated as “divorcement” in the Gospels.
Walter Bauer defines a-pos-ta-sia as “rebellion, abandonment.” Liddell and Scott suggest the meaning “to depart, to stand aloof, to detach, to forsake.” Charles Ryrie writes that it is “a departure from truth previously accepted, involving the breaking of a professed relationship with God. Apostasy always involves willful leaving of previously known truth and embracing error.”
Etymologically, the word is a compound of the Greek preposition “apo” (meaning “away from”) and the noun “sta-sis” (meaning “stand”). Its literal meaning is “to leave or depart from” an established position.
In our day and time, we are likely seeing the beginnings of this apostasy in the Gentile church. Some churches are espousing the so-called ‘prosperity gospel’, putting in believers’ minds that material wealth is part and parcel of salvation. Some churches have opened their doors to espouse and affirm homosexuality — allowing homosexuals to join the church, get married in the church, and serve in church leadership. Some pastors have succumbed to the spirit of the times and are preaching an ear-tickling message that is devoid of the power of God and Biblical truth. Some have even gone so far as to defy what is clearly taught in Scripture — such as the existence of Hell, or the fact that not everybody will go to Heaven. We must raise the question: are those who promote and espouse such teaching which clearly goes against Scripture truly saved? The Bible speaks of the great ‘falling away’ of the church in the end times. Perhaps, that falling away has begun. Perhaps, even now, this falling away is a precursor to the ingathering, the regrafting, of the children of Israel into the family of God.
One thing we can be certain of is this: No matter how far from God Israel may stray, God will preserve a remnant that will be brought in once they turn to the truth of Jesus Christ. God is still the “God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” He will keep His promises to the forefathers of the Jewish race. This means that the original branches of the olive tree will be grafted back in and Israel will be saved.
Lord willing, we will continue our study of this passage in our next message.
If you are with us today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to share with you how you can trust Him for salvation so that you can be ready for His return.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door.” Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry which publishes a monthly magazine called The Torch Leader. He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University School of Divinity. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica for over twenty-seven years. God has blessed their union with seven children. Find out more at www.danielwhyte3.com. Follow Daniel Whyte III on Twitter @prophetdaniel3 or on Facebook.